Baby Eggplant No-Parm
I love farmer’s markets! Everytime I go I end up picking up things I either never heard of, know how to cook, or how to eaten. I don’t set out to get these items. They intrigue me or they are just really cute! Last time it was Fuyu Persimmons, and this time it was baby eggplants. They were flipping adorable!
I know, I know… Eggplant is a very common vegetable, but I have only eaten it once
in a mushy casserole of some sort and I had never actually cooked one myself! I was excited!
So I decided to try the classic Eggplant Parmesan, but hold to the Parm… I’m not a big cheese eater
not because I don’t like cheese (I love cheese), but because I dislike the saturated fat content. I can live without it.
I didn’t look up a recipe for it, I just kind of freeballed it (<– is this a nasty saying? I hope not :-/). The sauce I made for the eggplant is the same base I use for my “Yum-Yum in Ya Tum Spahetti”. Anywho, this is how I put it together;
9 cute baby eggplants or 1 large ugly eggplant
1-14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes
3 vine ripen tomatoes or 1-14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 a large sweet onion, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves
1/3 cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheated oven at 375 degrees.
I saute the onions and garlic (the garlic has been finely chop in the food processor) in a medium size nonstick pot using 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cook until onions are just starting to soften around the edges. I seasoned them with a little salt and pepper and then added the cans of crushed tomatoes to the pot. (If you are using fresh tomatoes
like I did because I was using what I (fortunately) had on hand, then cut them in wedges and put them in the food processor with the garlic leftovers!! Yay no waste!) I then chopped them until they look like the diced tomatoes in a can and added these yummy garlickly tomatoes to the pot and simmered, stirring occasionally.
While that’s was cooking up, I washed the cute baby eggplants (or the big ugly one). I cut them cross-ways, making 1/2 inch wide slices. If using the big one, cut into 1.5 inch cubes. I found that the skins on these things are rather tough to cut through FYI. I just couldn’t fathom them cooking up nice and tender… But they did!
I, then, added the eggplant to the simmering pot of tomato goodness. Season with the rest of the EVOO, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. I tasted the sauce and see if I needed more of any of the seasonings. I have a low tolerance for salt and I found I made it slightly too salty for my taste. I call myself going easy on the salt and it still came out a little salty so I don’t know if eggplant just has a salty nature or if it was me, so be careful.
Finally, I threw the whole pot in the oven (but you might opt to transfer it to a pretty casserole dish). I bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the eggplant’s skin can be punctured with a fork.
I’m sure this is a very different version of this classic dish, but I love the simplicity of it and it’s wholesome ingredients.